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A new device is helping treat acid reflux and heartburn ahead of the holidays

It's GERD Awareness Week
Posted at 9:33 PM, Nov 22, 2022

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The holidays are here – and with all the celebrations comes a lot of rich, exceptional food.

Eating those special meals can lead to heartburn symptoms and acid reflux.

A local patient in College Station shares her experience with GERD, gastroesophageal reflux disease and how she can now enjoy all her favorite foods.

“I love the Chick-Fil-A tea lemonade and I got to where I couldn’t drink that anymore because the lemonade bothered me so bad, and just things like that tomatoes,” says Andi Coursey, GERD patient. “Random foods that I liked to eat just kept bothering me and medicine wasn’t helping.”

Andi Coursey had heard of GERD before, but it wasn’t until she had consistent stomach pain after everything she ate for two years.

“The quality of life just wasn’t there and that was just too long,” says Coursey. “I have young kids. I have lots going on in my life to have those experiences.”

GERD is like acid reflux but happens more frequently.

“Patients who have gastroesophageal reflux disease have symptoms year-round, in particular in the holidays when you are eating a lot of foods that you don’t normally eat, and a lot of desserts and spices and things that may induce reflux and heartburn more substantially than what you would normally experience,” says Dr. Matt Jordan, General Surgeon, Baylor Scott & White.

“Ultimately, the problem that leads to heartburn and reflux is there is a muscle at the top of the stomach that’s supposed to stay closed in between swallowing to help keep acid in the stomach and in patients who have gastro, that muscle is weak. It doesn’t function well to stay closed,” says Dr. Jordan.

There is a surgery that could help cure people of gastroesophageal disease and it includes metal beads.

“The LINX device is a magnetic ring of beads that sits around the junction of the esophagus with the stomach to keep acid from coming out of the stomach,” says Dr. Jordan. “When the stomach is full and filling with acid and starts to push up towards the esophagus, well the magnets in the device become active to help keep that sphincter closed.”

Coursey had the procedure done about four months ago.

She says the results were immediate and because of her successful surgery, her husband will go in next month to get a LINX device as well.

“It was quick,” says Coursey. “It was easy. I was off work a few days. It was pretty much almost immediate that I could see the difference. I only took my medicine about a week after surgery and after that, I stopped all my reflux medication and I have not taken any reflux medication ever since.”

“I can drink my tea lemonade and not have any issues. I don’t wake up in the middle of the night. I get to have fun with my kids.”

If you are experiencing heartburn symptoms and acid reflux, Dr. Jordan recommends you reach out to your primary care physician to see if you qualify as a candidate for the LINX device.

You can learn more about GERD on Baylor Scott & White’s website.